DevOps Explained: What do “DevOps Engineers” actually do at Zühlke?

Why is DevOps important?

Picture the scene: An executive committee meets for a quarterly meeting and the technical lead overhears this: “Our plan is to scale the platform, drive 25% increased revenue in the next 6 months and to position ourselves as the go-to provider in our market sector”.

  • increased efficiency
  • lower costs
  • increased feedback cycles
  • increased throughput speed and time-to-market.

What is DevOps anyway?

Originally “DevOps” was coined as a label for a development methodology that bridged software development and software operations, and brought with it the following set of principles:

  • holistic system approach
  • no silos between disciplines
  • short and fast feedback loops
  • collective code ownership.

What is the goal of DevOps?

DevOps provides communication, integration, automation, and close cooperation among all the people needed to plan, develop, test, deploy, release, and maintain a product. It essentially empowers an organisation with:

  • faster time to market
  • Informed experimentation
  • small and frequent software releases
  • shorter fix lead times
  • Improve the meantime for recovery

Who is DevOps?

In people terms, this is everyone that contributes to the value stream. The DevOps practice does not operate in a silo, but rather functions as the enabler of collaboration across many disciplines.

What skills do DevOps Engineers have?

The fundamental skill is to understand DevOps. A “DevOps Engineer” must have a DevOps mindset and be able to completely embrace the DevOps culture.

  • bootcamps
  • self-learning
  • transitioning from other roles
  • mentoring or joining open-minded organisations (that support alternative education paths).
  • Code comprehension across multiple programming languages.
  • Good listening skills: You will have to respond to the whims and wishes of your development team.
  • Patience and perseverance: We are one team, and we want everything stable, well performing — and ready yesterday.

But what do “DevOps Engineers” really do all day long?

“DevOps Engineers” ensure work flows smoothly through the entire value stream, giving businesses a competitive advantage. For this to happen, context is key because their work yields different value depending on operating environment. Some typical work areas include:

  • Participating in discoveries: A project phase where Zühlke helps its clients to define the right thing to build.
  • Building minimum viable products.
  • Conducting architectural assessments.
  • Cloud Native projects.
  • On-premises projects.
  • Build a continuous delivery pipeline so that the team can continuously deliver value and receive feedback.
  • Define processes to arrive at a common system approach.
  • Prioritise automation over repetitive, manual tasks: In a highly or fully automated system, any team member can perform complex and specialised operations.
  • Keep consistency across the developer’s environment, the test environments, and the production environment.
  • Support business needs and initiatives to enable innovation and business development.

Conclusion

In general DevOps is a shared approach across an entire development team, and often comes down to a shared agreement on how to tackle the development process. When an organisation embraces DevOps at the heart of its business development strategy, it empowers faster and safer production, and the ability to reach goals more consistently. It also allows business units to explore new ideas, and ultimately to innovate.

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Romano Roth

Romano Roth

My passion is helping companies bringing people, processes and technology together so that they can deliver continuously value to their customers.